Post-war humor from the pages of The Improvement Era:

Good Morning

“Good morning,” chirped the telephone operator, “this is Williams, Jones, Brown, Spry, Thurston, and Black.”

“Oh,” said the startled voice at the other end of the line, “good morning, good morning, good morning, good morning, good morning, and good morning.”


“Tommy, what is a synonym?” the teacher asked.

“A synonym,” said Tommy, wisely, “is a word you use when you can’t spell the other one.”


Parasite: A person who goes through a revolving door without pushing.

Ballet dancer: A jitterbug with a Russian accent.

Bachelor: A man who makes mistakes, but never at the marriage license bureau.

Influence: something you think you have until you try to use it.

Pedestrian: A person who failed to keep up payments on his automobile.

Punctuality: The art of guessing correctly how late the other party is going to be.

The Strength of a Name

To a group of citizens who had called to urge him to emancipate the slaves, President Lincoln said it was impossible at that stage of the war, and that proclaiming the negroes free would not make them so. By way of analogy he asked his callers: “How many legs will a sheep have if you called the tail a leg?”

“Five,” was the reply.

“You are mistaken,” said Lincoln, “for calling a tail a leg does not make it so.”

Financially Speaking

“Please help a poor cripple.”

“Poor fellow, here’s a dime. Where are you crippled?”

“In my finances, sir.”

Point of View

“How much is that Jersey cow of yours worth?”

“Are you the tax assessor, or has she been killed by a train?”

That Old Feeling

“Anything wrong?” the man said to a sailor who was slumped on a park bench.”

“I’m listless.”

“Lost your pep?”

“No, my list of phone numbers.”

Flavor to Taste

Dentist: “What kind of filling do you want?”

Boy: “Chocolate.”

Honor Insured

Professor: “This examination will be conducted on the honor system. Please take places three seats apart and in alternate rows.”


Teacher: “Jimmy, name five things that contain milk.”

Jimmy: “Butter, ice cream, cheese, and two cows.”

Reform Desired

“I want postwar reform,” shouted the candidate. “I want housing reform; I want political reform; I want …”

“Chloroform!” suggested a listener.


Jones: “When that man speaks, the nation listens.”

Brown: “He doesn’t look so important.”

Jones: “He’s the radio announcer on the big sporting events.”

Adam and Eve

“Too bad about Jones. Did he take his troubles like a man?”

“Exactly. He blamed his wife for everything.”

Time Accomplishes All

“Have you forgotten that you owe me five dollars?”

“Not yet. Give me a little time, won’t you?”

What – No K Rations?

An enthusiastic serviceman writes: “The members in the Philippine Islands are avid readers of The Improvement Era, literally consuming each issue.”

Meaning of Much

“How much are steaks worth today?”

“Not as much as they were in the good old days, but they’re charging about ten times as much for them.”


“How old are you?” the gushing woman asked the bored veteran.

“Twenty-one, ma’am.”

“Twenty-one – why that’s just at the threshold of life. What do you expect to be in twenty years?”


It’s an Ill Wind

“Sorry,” the beautiful receptionist said to the haggard and worn little man, “but I can’t give you an appointment until July.”

“But,” he protested, “this tooth keeps me awake every night.”

“Then in that case I advise you to see the people next door – they need a night watchman.”

Line of Reasoning

“So you’re the youngest in your family. Who comes after you?”

“My brother.”

“And who comes after him?”

“The truant officer.”


Old Grad: “Professor, I have made some money and I want to do something for my old college. I don’t remember what studies I excelled in.”

Professor: “In my class you slept most of the time.”

Grad: “Fine! I’ll build a dormitory.”


Irritable customer: “Why is it I never get what I ask for here?”

Clerk: “Perhaps we are too polite.”

Trade Winds

Wife, to husband: “I want to do some shopping tomorrow if the weather is favorable – what does the paper say?”

Husband: “Rain, hail, sleet, snow, thunder, lightning, and fierce winds.”

Now Pointless

“I hear your boarder and you had an argument, and he left your house – I thought you liked to have him around.”

“I said that he had his points.”

“Well – “

“Rationing is over.”

Judgment Deferred

“Was your uncle vigorous and sane to the last?”

“I don’t know – the will won’t be read till tomorrow.”

There Came a Day

“Poor man! He was ruined by untold wealth.”

“Untold wealth?”

“Yes, he didn’t tell about it on his income tax return.”

Appropriate Send Off

“When I ask for those who wish to contribute five dollars to this charity, to stand up, I wish you’d have the band play a little appropriate music.”

“What do you mean, appropriate music?”

“‘The Star Spangled Banner.’”

Simple Deductions

“See here, sir!” growled the income tax checker, “your blank says that you’re supporting two wives. That’s bigamy.”

“Oh, no. My son just got married.”

Wrong Direction

“I hear you are speculating in wheat.”

“I was, but never again! The market went against my grain!”


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